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IDEMA Intros New Standard

SUNNYVALE, Calif. -- IDEMA, the International Disk Drive, Equipment and Materials Association, is announcing that its workgroup has now finalized the definition of the Long Block Data (LBD) sector standard.

With this important stage completed, IDEMA is releasing the LBD sector standard to the market, enabling hardware and software developers to begin implementation in new products. Specifications for the LBD standard can be downloaded from IDEMAs website (

As areal densities on today’s hard disk drives have increased to almost inconceivable levels, improvements have come from numerous sources, such as enhanced media, heads, data detection and error control coding (ECC). Progress must continue, but not at the expense of disk reliability. The solution: larger physical block sizes. This means replacing the 30-year-old standard of 512 bytes-per-sector with 4,096 bytes. Large blocks not only enable improved reliability, while other important advantages result as well, including greater efficiency for data transfer (less overhead per block written and read), reduced format time and faster drive maintenance (shorter time periods to scan and defragment the disk).

IDEMA and its members have advocated for a new industry standard for large-block sectors to be specified and steady progress has taken place since the Long Block Data sector workgroup was formed by IDEMA in 2000.

“The primary roadblock we had to overcome was legacy software that requires a 512-byte block size,” said Dr. Joel Weiss, president of IDEMA. “By facilitating the discussion between both hard disk drive manufacturers and the leaders in OS and BIOS software, we were able to establish a standard that is now accepted by the software industry and can be implemented in a way that is easily updateable and backward compatible. When the standard is rolled out in products, software manufacturers will be prepared with new code, hard drive manufacturers will be able to provide enhanced reliability and the only thing end customers will notice is improved performance. We are excited that IDEMA could be the driver of this widespread industry cooperation and collaboration that will lead to continued technology innovations.”

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